For Educators

Traditions and Transformations- Background


Jewish culture provides a lens through which students can observe how traditions endure and transform over time. In this lesson, students learn about Jewish culture as a living, changing tradition, and they relate some of Judaism’s traditions to their own lives.

Students learn about Jewish culture from a variety of perspectives: They look at Jewish religious and secular traditions including holidays, sacred and secular music, dance, and visual arts. They also consider the relationship between religious traditions and secular cultural traditions. Resources include segments from Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly, Web sites, and interviews with guest speakers. As a culminating activity, students explore and synthesize the themes of the lesson through arts activities.

Grade Level:

Grades 6-8

Time Allotment:

This lesson [unit] may take a few days or several weeks, depending on students’ level of interest and commitment to the topic.

Subject Matter:

Social studies; history; music; English/language arts; religion

Learning Objectives:

Students will:

  • Interview guest speakers on the subject of Jewish culture.
  • Produce creative reflections on their own family traditions.
  • Use a variety of materials and resources to research and report on one of the following: the Jewish nation, Jewish holidays, Jewish art and Jewish music.
  • Create group poems and murals around themes of Jewish culture.


This lesson was prepared by: Kathleen M. Cochran, Ed.M.